Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Susanna Clark, 2004, Bloomsbury.
Here’s a book that was widely hyped, and largely lives up to the expectations set for it. In a faux-historic novel, two men work alternately together and at odds in their efforts to return English Magic to its former prominence. The writing is solid, the descriptions evocative, and the story convincing. The characters are human, interesting, and provide occasional surprises to keep things moving along. While Clark has an overfondness for footnotes that tell too much of the story (leave us some mystery, please!), the style is reminiscent of Charles Palliser, although without all of his characteristic grimness.